International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia

CW: Homophobia, Transphobia, Body Dysphoria, Sexual Abuse

Growing up, I was both homophobic and transphobic. Religious influences insisted that both were unnatural and unpractical in terms of reproductive ability, as if all humans are only here to reproduce. Social pressure insisted that both were morally wrong, weird, and unnatural. And I didn’t question any of these things until I left that environment.

I discovered that my own homophobia and transphobia came from the fear of my own sexuality, and my own body. Dysphoria and shame surrounded my decision to call trans and queer people “others.” And I still believe that any person who share the same sentiments are fighting the same battles.

The people who shut out these differences and box them up for disposal are the ones most afraid of their own capability to be one of “the enemy.” They fear themselves more than anyone else. I understand that fear and still occasionally find myself living inside of it. But at least now I have begun to shed it like layers of skin.

No one wakes up woke, and no one understands all the nuances of individual identities until they can humanize and empathize with those identities. I never knew what it was like to empathize and humanize with queer and trans folx until I met them. Until I met their families, their friends, their partners. Until I took a moment to acknowledge that I was viewing them through the privilege of my cis-het identity.

I then saw nothing but human beings with the same needs and wants as myself, tailored to their own personal lives. And I loved it. Their bravery began to grow a bravery within myself, and I found my world beginning to expand. I found the possibilities of who I could be and what I could accept about myself becoming more feasible, and less fearful.

I began to reminisce on all the days of my youth that I fought against feminine clothing and adamantly proclaimed that I wanted to be a boy. I remembered the constant aggravation in not being allowed to shave my head, in being taken out of my brother’s clothing that I felt more comfortable in. I remembered telling a boyfriend that I thought I was gay, but that I couldn’t be, because my own genitalia disgusted me. I believed that no one would want someone uncomfortable with their body, even if it matched their own.

And so I buried the possibility that I could ever be anything more than what I had been up until that point. And in the past years I have begun to unbury the roots of each issue. The self-hate that came from early molestation. The dysphoria that feels more like home than my own parts at times. And the growing love that I have discovered for my sex and for my parts through the admitting of these issues. The excitement at realizing that there are partners and possibilities for everyone, regardless of their self-identification or sexual issues. That even within labels, there are spectrums of definitions that you can create for yourself.

And I hope that if you still hold the same phobic thoughts as I once did in your heart, that you choose to let them go..and that you find ways to forgive yourself and hold others accountable in return. LITERALLY NO ONE will grow in themselves or within the greater good without being criticized or corrected when being assumptive or close-minded. So do the work. Put in the work. For both yourself, and others.

I call people out on their bullshit now because I was only able to grow by having others call me out on mine. So absorb that, and emulate it. Be open to learning more about people that are different than yourself…you may find that you’re not so different after all. And it’s better to face that fear than to live within it for the rest of your life.

**Big ups to all of my powerful trans and queer pals today, as well. I am only a better person for having met and known each one of you.**

May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering.

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